The New Haven Register reports that its decision to outsource printing operations and move “key operations” downtown will enable the paper to launch an “open newsroom” similar to one at The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn.
The move, which will result in 105 layoffs, is the latest by Journal Register Co. to consolidate printing operations at its papers. Paper Cuts has chronicled some of these changes:
- In February 2011, The Oneida Daily Dispatch in New York said 34 people would lose their jobs when it outsourced its printing, mailroom and delivery operations.
- In December 2010, The Daily Freeman in Kingston, N.Y., moved its printing and mailroom operations to its sister newspaper in Troy, which already had taken over production for JRC’s paper in Saratoga Springs. Delivery was switched to an outside vendor. Fifty-eight jobs were cut.
- In July 2009, The Register Citizen moved its printing to the New Haven Register. Now the Hartford Courant will print that paper too, along with the Middletown Press and others.
CJR has noted Journal Register CEO John Paton’s emphasis on “Digital first, print last.” CJR described what Paton told a group of management and editors after taking over in January 2010:
Meanwhile, Paton told his audience, he would slash infrastructure costs. He would soon shut down most of the papers’ printing presses, mailrooms, and circulation departments, either outsourcing these operations or consolidating them to one paper in each geographic area.
Journal Register is not alone in this shift. Later this month, The Boston Globe will start to print and deliver the Boston Herald. Gannett’s Cincinnati and Kentucky Enquirers will be printed by The Columbus Dispatch this fall.
The trend was evident for the 2010 “State of the Media” report, which noted that eight of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers were printed outside their home cities. That was true for half of Gannett’s papers. Now 11 McClatchy papers are printed elsewhere, Communications Director Peter Tira told me. (In some cases the printing has been moved to other papers within the company.) News & Tech has been tracking newspaper production closures since 2005; it’s a long list.
In October, Jim Brady, editor-in-chief of Digital First Media, which manages JRC and MediaNews, told Street Fight that the company’s newspapers would have to consolidate production of national and international news so that papers could focus on local coverage.